Mold-related illness – what this really means

10118808 - mold closeupMold. What exactly is it and why is it so seemingly common in our everyday lives?

Moisture in combination with air and surface combine to produce mold. We see mold in industrial settings, work places and within our homes. More specifically, we tend to see mold mostly on walls, ceilings, wooded areas, bathroom areas and fabrics.

The question remains — if we continue to live in close proximity to mold around us on a daily basis, what type of impact will that have on our health, longevity and prolonged quality of life?

How do you know if mold is making you sick?

Narrowing down the specific issues resulting in your sickness is almost never an easy feat. Even harder is detecting mold as the specific cause of your current symptoms. Nevertheless, there is relevant information necessary to know in order to hone in on mold exposure in direct conjunction with your health.

But first, let’s break it down a bit further by indicating the real problem with mold – the spores. These seeds, or spores, are invisible to the eye, making it doubly impossible to avoid inhalation. Spores travel through the air and can attach to places in as little as 24 hours, given desirable ‘mold’ conditions.

If you begin to suffer from any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing the beginning of a mold-related sickness or illness. Remain cognizant of the following symptoms and seek medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • Itchy, watery or red eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sudden appearance of skin rashes
  • Wheezing
  • Inability to breathe normally
  • Coughing
  • Extreme headaches and/or migraines
  • Unusual pains in and around joints
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle aches
  • Continuous nerve pain
  • Sudden onset of vertigo or dizziness
  • Inability to recover from common colds
  • Numbness observed anywhere on the body
  • Inability to focus
  • Sudden trouble with memory

These allergy-related symptoms can be your body’s direct response to excessive exposure to mold – especially if you have a genetic predisposition to recycle toxins instead of flushing them from your system naturally.

What health problems are a result of mold exposure?

While some could argue that the increased sensitivity and allergy-related mold symptoms are, in fact, health issues resulting in mold exposure, we can project further and outline possible long-term problems that could arise due to exposure.

The levels of mold concentration play a large role in properly assessing the severity of these health issues, but we’ll take a more generalized look into probable issues here.

Long-term, prolonged mold exposure can cause the following health problems:

  • Increase or worsen current allergy or asthma symptoms
  • Upper respiratory issues
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Possibility of developing asthma over time

It is important to note that people with existing health conditions are at a heightened risk of experiencing issues negatively impacting their overall health and wellbeing as a direct result of mold exposure.

What treatments are available?

First and foremost, the source of the mold you have been exposed to must be found and eliminated. Otherwise, symptoms will inevitably be reoccurring. Once that has been taken care of, there are a myriad of other things you can proactively implement in order to treat current symptoms and prevent more from happening. These are summarized below:

  • Hire professional cleaners to ensure all mold is properly and efficiently removed
  • Consider moving if the atmosphere of your home is predisposed for mold growth
  • Consider changing your diet
  • Integrate IV therapy for nutrient density
  • Adopt natural treatments in the form of medicines, supplements, and foods

These treatments are common and generalized for a comprehensive and blanketed approach to mold-related illness treatments available. If you have any specific questions or would like a more detailed breakdown on what treatments are currently available to you, reach out to us here today.

Taking preventative measures

There are always prevention techniques you can implement to stifle, mitigate or limit the possibility of contracting any type of mold-related illness, and moisture control tops the list.

As stated at the beginning of this article, without moisture, mold cannot accumulate. Stop the moisture – stop the mold.

Ensure that you continue to keep an eye out for mold in your home in all of the common areas. Maintaining a clean house will decrease the possibility of mold inception and further integration. Weekly cleaning and maintenance are vital components to the preventative factors and should be taken seriously and upheld consistently.

Conclusion

We understand that you are not always in control of your surroundings on a daily basis. There is even a possibility that you may not even know you are in constant contact with mold. Perhaps mold is prevalent throughout the duct work of your office building.

There are many places mold can be found and many reasons it may be found there. The fact alone can be a daunting one to accept, but we are here to help. Contact us today for more information.

The quitter’s guide to stopping bad habits

Group Of Teenagers SmokingThey’re called bad habits for a reason: they haunt us, they steer us off track and they prevent us from living our healthiest lives. But, because they’re habits, they’ve become sort of a ritual, part of what we do and who we are. It can be extremely difficult to stop a bad habit like smoking, but not impossible.

The first step is to identify why you have these habits. Be extra mindful; keep a journal and write down anytime you feel the need to indulge in your bad habit. Where are you, what do feel, what are the circumstances? See if you can define the reason for your habit.

Keeping this record can help you identify possible triggers that could be making it more difficult to break your habit. You may find you even need to avoid certain situations, especially in the beginning.

To rid yourself of a bad habit you’ll need to be committed to a formulated plan of action. Write down your goal and believe you can achieve it. This may mean starting small. Making small strides towards an ultimate goal might not feel as satisfying, but it’s a great way to start the path to success. Maybe your bad habit is too much screen time and not enough exercising. Instead of going all out immediately, take steps for gradual change. Make your first goal to exercise at least 10 minutes a day. If screen time is an issue, exercise first, so you don’t get pulled into a binge session and skip the workout.

Reward yourself for good behavior. This can even be a part of the plan; you could do a reward system for every mini goal you achieve along the way.

Understanding what your bad habit is and why you do it is the first step. After that, you can formulate a plan of action and beat that bad habit.

Symptoms of cognitive impairment: Normal aging, neurocognitive disorder and dementia

30031239_SWhat is dementia? What is cognitive impairment? Can cognitive impairment be reversed? And how does one differentiate between the two and any normal memory loss associated with progressive aging? Are you interested in learning more about dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and the symptoms of cognitive impairment? Continue reading for a general synopsis.

Before diving deeper into the varying types of cognitive impairment, let’s uncover some of the symptoms most commonly associated with the neurological disorder.

What are the typical symptoms of cognitive impairment?

The following are some of the most observed symptoms associated with mild to severe cognitive impairment:

  • Confusion
  • Partial loss of short-term or long-term memory
  • Impaired judgment/decision-making
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Identity confusion
  • Missing/forgetting appointments or important events
  • Difficulty keeping up with conversations

An individual suffering with a neurocognitive disorder may present one or more of these symptoms. These symptoms can be a normal sign of aging in geriatric populations. However, they may start as symptoms of mild cognitive impairment and progress later on. It is important to talk with your doctor about creating a plan for treatment and enacting lifestyle changes that may be able to slow or reverse some or all of these symptoms.

This then raises another poignant question regarding these early indicators: How fast does mild cognitive impairment progress?

Answer: Unfortunately, there is no solid medically based research to back any data. It is vital, however, to see a doctor to discuss a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan – before these issues advance to more severe cognitive impairment symptoms.

If you notice any new or sudden signs of cognitive impairment in children, it is absolutely critical to seek out medical help immediately. The age of a child would obviously denounce any normal aging neurological related atrophy.

Are there any other behavioral or mood changes to look out for?

There are additional and equally notable behavioral and mood changes that can supplement the current symptoms of cognitive impairment. Keep an eye out for any of the following:

  • Quickly changing mood
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Impulsivity
  • Apathy
  • Social isolation

It is important to remember to watch for these mood and behavioral signs – and make sure to talk with your doctor about them should they present. These issues could be a symptom of mild cognitive impairment, or, they could be related to something else. Take note that individuals with mild behavioral impairment (MBI) do have an increased risk for developing dementia.

Memory and aging: Normal aging memory loss vs. dementia

Memory and Aging: Normal Aging Memory Loss vs Dementia

Another issue to address in the geriatric populations is normal memory loss vs dementia. What should stand out as a red flag and what should be cited and a pre-diagnosis market. It is vital to understand that when you are discussing mild cognitive impairment vs dementia, that there are specific diagnostic criteria that doctors utilize. Only a licensed doctor or nurse practitioner will be able to officially diagnose any potential condition.

If you are experiencing normal age-related memory loss, your doctor will likely ask about your lifestyle. There are many things that can be done to support cognitive health as you age. Diet and exercise are vital here. Eating well-balanced meals with the right vitamins and key nutrients can help support healthy aging. If you smoke tobacco, then it might be a great time to think about quitting.

Brain “exercises” are another underutilized technique that many assist in cognitive repairment and/or put a halt to current or impending symptoms. There are many ways to train your brain as you age. Here are just a few fun ways to help keep your cognitive receptors active and firing:

  • Word games
  • Puzzles
  • Trivia and quiz games
  • Memory games
  • Math and number games
  • Card games
  • Blogging
  • Reading

Current medicine and the treatment of cognitive impairment

Research into different types of cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as memory in general is ever evolving and technologically advancing while uncovering new information on an almost daily basis. Treatment of cognitive impairment is improving, and clinical trials are repeatedly discovering new breakthroughs.

If you would like to learn more about memory loss, cognitive impairment, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, or if you have any questions concerning the cognitive wellness of a loved one, please click here to talk with a professional today.

Do you think you or a loved one may be suffering from cognitive impairment?

If you have noticed what you think could be symptoms of cognitive impairment in yourself or a loved one, please talk with a doctor as soon as possible. Reference the link above.

While you can find plenty of cognitive impairment tests online, it is critical to seek the help of a licensed medical professional.

Cognitive impairment symptoms can start slowly and then progress quickly. Please don’t wait to talk with a doctor after the signs worsen. Make the call today.

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3788702/

https://www.psychguides.com/neurological-disorders/cognitive/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4104432/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1123445/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mild-cognitive-impairment/symptoms-causes/syc-20354578

Ginger just might be the wonder root

Fresh ginger rootWhat’s in your herbal first aid kit? If the root vegetable ginger isn’t in there, here are a few reasons to consider keeping it around the house. If you’ve ever reached for a ginger ale when you felt sick to your stomach, it might be no surprise to you that ginger can have some satisfying health benefits. For starters, the root of the plant is actually what you ingest. It’s used to not only flavor beverages like ginger ale, but also to spice up dishes, and even to clean your palette after eating sushi. Additionally, it has some awesome properties that make it a great staple to keep around.

For thousands of years, ginger has helped relieve various types of pains. It’s been shown not only to help stomachaches and motion sickness, but also to ail other issues. You may find it helps with diarrhea, gas, and menstrual cramps. Ginger has some amazing anti-inflammatory properties, making it helpful for pain from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It eases general joint and muscle pain. It may even help with a migraine or headache.

There’s a substance in fresh ginger, called Gingerole, that may even help reduce your chance of infections. Raw ginger has even been shown to have possible anti-cancer properties.

Ginger is easy to add into to a diet plan. It can be found in various forms, including pickled, powder, supplements, and hot teas. Grated ginger can also be added to soups and stir fries.

Of course, as with anything, exercise caution and do not use ginger as a substitute for medicine prescribed to you by your doctor. Ginger can interfere with some medication, can raise insulin, and can act as a blood thinner. Check with your doctor regarding the safety of using it during pregnancy and if you have certain health issues. Keep in mind, a lower dose is usually recommended. In a day, the typical amount is 4 grams or less.

Once you’re approved to add this supplement to your diet, consider giving it a try. Add flavor and health benefits to your palette.

Neuroscience basics – Understanding Alzheimer’s

18996499_SWhile neurological research utilizes technological advancements on a daily basis in attempts to further delve into the abyss of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), neurodegeneration is steadily becoming a predictable diagnosis in monitored patients.

In short, Alzheimer’s Disease is an age-related degenerative progression that affects an individual’s brain. Oftentimes, at the time of initial observation or clinical diagnosis, substantial and irreversible brain damage has already manifested thus intensifying the need to implement regular checkups to allow for preliminary markers to be observed and even predicted. Early monitoring can allow for therapeutic treatment to drastically slow the progression of the disease.

Understanding the early stages in a comprehensive manner could be the difference between putting a stop the illness and suffering from significant damage.

Some basic signs to be aware of when observing an individual will be briefly touched on throughout the remainder of this article in hopes to give the foundational knowledge needed for preventative measures.

Memory loss

Memory loss is a common and generalized occurrence in elderly people, but can also be an underlying predicator of other, more threatening medical conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.

In normal, progressive aging, when a person ‘forgets’ something they have a tendency to recall the subject matter later on. With early on-set Alzheimer’s, in this same example, the individual will forget with no recall or cognitive connection to the subject matter whatsoever.

Memory loss is in fact one of the most common signs and early stages of AD. In conjunction with observed loss of memory, take note if the individual is seemingly asking the same questions over and over. This obvious repetition and dependency on other people to remember certain tasks or dates is critical to the proactive time frame.

Trouble expressing thoughts, feelings, and emotions

An elderly person who seems to be slipping in their ability to articulate thoughts in an educated manner should not be disregarded. Especially if this particular individual had no trouble of this in their past.

Someone who is aging at a normal speed is going to naturally develop progressive issues in regards to thought communication but this type of occurrence will be minimal and certainly not advance or worsen over time.

Those suffering from early on-set dementia or pre-diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, will often stop mid sentences. They may even stop the conversation completely or repeat their sentence. Other times you will notice them having issues identifying common objects or calling them by different names.

Because of the inevitable frustration this will cause them, you may notice that they begin to shy away from having general conversations with people.

Misplacing objects

As we previously stated, memory loss is a common sign in individuals who are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. What often comes along with forgetting names, places, and dates, is forgetting where you placed an item.

A person with AD will often put things in strange places, making it extremely difficult to find them even with the help of another person. For instance, a person living with Alzheimer’s may put a frying pan in their sock drawer. This is obviously not the pans typical spot and will now be very hard to find the next time someone needs it to cook.

If the person is then questioned on the whereabouts of the frying pan, they may begin to through accusatory theft allegations, in attempts to make sense of their unusual behavior.

Visual impairment

Sometimes and in some people, visual problems can be a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease. Understand that visual impairments are also a normal sign of aging but monitor the remaining behavior in direct comparison to the other signs outlined above. Being unable to judge distance, differentiate colors, and failing to recognize their own image in a mirror are critical markers that should be taken seriously and discussed with a medical professional as soon as possible.

Suffering from visual impairment is a preliminary indicator but this can also be coupled with feelings of anxiousness, confusion, and intensified irritability.

Conclusive discussions

Again, the importance of having a thorough understanding of what these symptoms look like while being able to recognize the signs in a loved one is imperative to proactively treating the disease.

Preventative and alternative medicines are viable treatment options. Bredesen Protocol Treatment, for instance, is a form of integrative medicine that has seen increased effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s Disease or patients suffering from dementia. It has shown a reverse in cognitive decline and improved brain health.

“Providing Alzheimer’s treatment for patients and those who want to optimize their brain health to avoid this dreadful disease and reverse cognitive decline has been a passion of Doctor Lawson for a few years now. Dr. Lawson is passionate about helping patients to understand their risks and mitigate them through lifestyle changes, targeted nutraceuticals including nootropics, advanced peptide therapy and the right medications when indicated.” [Bredesen Protocol Treatment for Dementia/Alzheimer’s]

Symptoms of possible thyroid problems

60869888_MYou’ve probably never given it much thought or even realized it was there, but the thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck. This little gland is a powerful force in your body as it produces vital hormones, especially for women. The pituitary gland regulates it, and it is susceptible to your iodine intake. The hormones secreted by the thyroid affect nearly every part of the body, and when these levels vary from the norm, your health may suffer. More women are likely to suffer from thyroid issues, with nearly one in eight women developing a problem in her lifetime, especially after pregnancy or menopause.

Thyroid disorders have different symptoms that gradually grow in intensity. It may take several months of side effects before you begin to realize that there may be an issue. Watch out for:

  • Increased anxiety or nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Lowered ability to concentrate
  • Irregular periods or reduced flow
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sensitivity to heat or consistently cold
  • Bowel movement changes
  • Dry, itchy, or thin skin
  • Brittle hair or hair loss
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue

These symptoms could be a sign of a thyroid issue. Several disorders can stem from problems with this gland, and most will have these symptoms in common. These are some of the most common ailments to get tested for if you are experiencing these issues:

  • Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid is not producing enough hormones. It is also known as Hashimoto’s disease. Many of the previous symptoms apply to this condition, but you may notice an enlarged thyroid gland called a goiter, eye and face swelling, and a deeper voice.
  • Hyperthyroidism is a condition when the gland becomes inflamed and begins producing too many hormones. Tumors may cause this condition, and it can develop into Graves’ disease or thyroiditis.
  • Thyroid cancer can develop from nodules or tumors in the throat. In most cases, a lump in the throat is usually benign, but occasionally it is cancerous. Often, there is a history of hypothyroidism first.

Thyroid symptoms are very deceptive, and it often takes months of consistent struggle before patients seek treatment. Carefully monitoring your thyroid health throughout your life is an excellent way to stay healthy, especially for women. Pregnancy and menopause affect your thyroid health and have many of the same symptoms. If you are ready to conceive or entering your menopause years, monitoring this gland is essential.

A comprehensive guide to disease and general wellness impairments

Scientist exam test tube on white backgroundIs your loved one currently suffering from an illness? Health issues on an obvious and comprehensive scale can be frustrating and exceedingly stressful. These stressors seemingly compound overnight with the ever-transcending mainstream illness-related jargon pumped through the pipelines on a near daily basis. It’s almost impossible not to worry.

You have a family and children to take care of – staying proactive and health conscious is a full-time job, in addition to your other full-time job. It’s imperative to validate resources in order to fully understand wellness and critical components that may affect long-term health. Let’s discuss a few here today.

Mold-related illness. What is it?

There are noticeable debates running rampant within the scientific community in regards to whether or not any adverse reactions are actually being caused by indoor mold. However, we can all agree on the fact that there are various mold classifications, and for the sake of argument here, we’ll focus that.

Mold-related illnesses are derivative of mold spores that are found in the air. These spores can cause a myriad of health problems including allergies, asthma, eye, throat and nose irritations, respiratory issues and sinus congestion. In the case an asthma reaction flares up, the mold spores will not typically be the cause of the issue, but can unquestionably worsen the individual’s current asthmatic condition.

Normal aging vs. Alzheimer’s vs. Cognitive impairment

Normal aging comes with its apparent disadvantages, oftentimes including a series of less than desirable ‘side effects.’ Aside from the lack of skin elasticity, vision degeneration, auditory diminishment and overall change in appearance, other affects can negatively impact your overall health that aren’t often a part of the progression.

A decline or negative alteration in the cardiovascular system can result in heart failure. Bones, muscles and joints may also weaken. In respect to the digestive system, constipation may result from normal aging. The urinary tract and the bladder can become damaged.

In regard to cognitive capacity, there may be some memory loss that is representative and to be expected in the majority of aging individuals.

On that note, let’s briefly discuss Alzheimer’s as it relates to generalized cognitive impairment, a disease long studied and one that continues to elude medical scholars in countless ways and on varying degrees.

There is a difference between the two. It’s important to note that cognitive impairment on its own accord can cause Alzheimer’s disease. Almost 20% of people aged 65 or older have mild cognitive impairment. The cause of Alzheimer’s disease, however, is the death of brain cells. This is considered to be a neurodegenerative disease, meaning that there is a gradual cell expiry over a certain period of time.

Some symptoms of cognitive impairment include misperception, impaired judgement, identity confusion, short-term and long-term memory loss, and poor motor coordination. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are similar to those of cognitive impairment. These include memory loss greatly affecting daily life, heightened complexity when solving general problems, comprehensive confusion where none previously existed, problems writing or speaking, and personality or mood fluctuations.

Roughly 2-3% of the world’s population may possess a genetic predisposition, increasing their chances of developing Alzheimer’s by up to 60%. This statistic is in direct comparison to the other 10-15% of the population who will also develop the disease.

Diabetes – a brief synopsis

Diabetes is a chronic condition that involves surges in glucose levels, or blood sugar. Glucose is primarily used for energy and directly sourced from the foods you consume every day. Typically, the glucose is shuttled into your cells by way of insulin (a hormone naturally produced in the body). In an individual with diabetes, insulin is lacking, thus resulting in the previously mentioned spike in blood sugar levels.

Diabetes can lead to health complications affecting numerous parts of the body. In the brain, strokes and cognitive impairment can occur. In regard to the heart, diabetes can result in heart attacks and/or heart failure.

A person can also be affected with peripheral neuropathy, resulting in nerve damage. As in many other illnesses, preventive measures can be implemented and these initiatives often include, exercise and a conscious change in the individual’s diet.

The two different types

Type 1 diabetes can be treated with insulin and is typically early onset. Type 2 diabetes can be treated with certain medications including thiazolidinediones, biguanides and meglitinides, and is generally delayed on-set.

The solution: How do you choose to live? Healthy vs. Non-healthy living

Healthy living and non-healthy living can be categorized by breaking down how efficiently an individual performs on the following two predominant factors: exercise and diet.

You know the saying, ‘if you don’t move it, you lose it.’

A sedentary lifestyle should be avoided at all costs. Physical activity is vital to the general well-being of a person’s most basic forms of functionality. Start off slow. Attempt to implement a workout regime just three times each week for at least thirty minutes. You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your overall mood increases.

While conscious eating and an active lifestyle can’t be the cure-all, they can certainly help manage and even negate some forms of illness and other negative health-related issues. Taking control of your lifestyle by putting forth the effort to be proactive could mean the difference between enjoying the rest of your life, or surviving the rest of your life.

4 tips for naturally reducing inflammation

Inflammation can be highly uncomfortable, and sometimes downright painful, but the presence of inflammation isn’t always a bad one. Inflammation is a part of the body’s healing system and so occurs when there is injury or illness to combat.43229893_M

However, inflammation can also occur without these triggers and, in these cases, is typically a result of one’s lifestyle, including diet, stress level, and being sedentary. Even if your inflammation has become chronic, there are natural ways to reduce it so you can improve and feel better in no time.

To start with, consume anti-inflammatory foods, which include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, fatty fish and berries. In the same vein, keep away from foods known to contribute to inflammation, such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup, refined carbohydrates, alcohol and processed meats.

You’ll also do yourself a great favor by being sure to start an exercise routine. New research suggests that just 20 minutes of exercise can have an impact by activating important cellular responses. We know that there are days when it can be difficult to spare even 20 minutes, but know that doing so will have a significant impact on your health.

Another goal of yours should be to manage your stress. Everyone manages stress differently so find what works best for you. Natural stress reducers include: lavender, chamomile, baths and meditation. Some also find solace in practicing yoga.

Lastly, general lifestyle factors can make the biggest difference. Improve your lifestyle and improve your life. So, don’t smoke and make sure you’re getting adequate sleep.

Chronic inflammation doesn’t have to continue to impact your life. Take the steps now using these tips and experience a pain-free, healthy existence. You are entirely capable of leading your life down the path you want to go down. If you’ve followed this advice and continue to experience harmful inflammation, make an appointment with your functional medicine doctor to get to the root cause.

Eating for your best health

Black family eating healthy food togetherWhat’s the single most important lifestyle change you can make to benefit your health? It’s your diet. Your diet is probably the most crucial part of your overall health and wellness. By “diet,” we don’t mean a short-term reduction in the amount of food or kind of food you eat to lose weight or achieve a particular body goal, but your habitual eating patterns every day, over your whole life.

What to eat

At Proactive Wellness Centers, we always advise choosing fresh, “whole” foods as much as possible — foods that have as little processing as possible. While that generally means foods in their most natural state, it’s also important to beware of additives in many foods in grocery stores that you would not expect, such as added sugars and salt. You also need to be aware that most vegetables and fruits can contain traces of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that our bodies did not evolve to handle.

We often recommend the Mediterranean diet or the paleo diet as those that are the healthiest diets for most people.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits of people from countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy and Spain. It emphasizes fresh, seasonal and local foods: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and cereals and olive oil, as well as moderate amounts of fish and poultry, smaller portions of dairy such as yogurt and cheese, red and processed meats, and sweets. One aspect that many enjoy is regular consumption of moderate amounts of wine with meals. Another surprising aspect is the focus on social eating — eating meals with others, particularly family, resting after eating and exercising regularly.

The paleo diet is based on the theoretical food intake of prehistoric people of the Paleolithic Era, from about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. It includes lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds — foods that could have been obtained through hunting and gathering.

As a result, the paleo diet restricts or limits foods that only became available after humans started farming about 10,000 years ago, such as dairy products, grains and legumes.

Food sensitivities

We’re all a little different, which means that some of us are sensitive or intolerant to certain foods. A good example is those who are allergic to peanuts, which can cause a response as serious as an anaphylactic reaction, which is swelling that can close the airways.

Other people are lactose intolerant, meaning their digestive systems cannot fully digest lactase, the sugar found in milk. As a result, they can experience discomfort and pain after eating any dairy product, including cheese.

Many people go through their lives without understanding their food sensitivities and intolerances. They may have symptoms that look like chronic diseases or health conditions. Others experience unhealthy weight gain, or find it impossible to lose weight. However, once they eliminate these foods, their symptoms clear up, they establish a healthy weight and enjoy profound improvements in their overall health and wellness.

Another important step is to identify the foods that the individual can handle through food sensitivity testing. Once we identify the foods that you’re sensitive to, those you’re intolerant of, and those that benefit you most, we can together develop an individualized eating plan.

Intermittent fasting

One trend that is showing very promising results in controlling weight is intermittent fasting. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Intermittent fasting is not about what you eat, it’s about when you eat. It means fasting for 16 hours a day, and eating only during a set, 8-hour period in the day — for instance, between noon and 8:00 p.m.

It has a number of benefits, and while many in the medical community were skeptical five or six years ago, the opinion is changing. A recent study published by the Harvard Medical School found that it can be more effective than other diet plans for weight loss and prevention of diabetes.

Intermittent fasting works at the chemical and cellular level. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut into protein, fat and carbohydrates, which are sugars and starches, in our bloodstream.

Our cells use sugar for energy, with any leftovers stored in cells as fat. To convert sugar into either energy or fat, we need insulin. It’s insulin that brings sugar into fat cells and stores it there.

Our bodies produce insulin when we eat, so as long as we’re not eating, the insulin level in our bloodstream goes down and fat cells release stored sugar to be used as energy. When insulin levels go down, we lose weight. Intermittent fasting allows insulin levels to go down long enough for us to burn off fat.

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. Those who experience strong food cravings, disruption of sleep patterns or who are under extreme stress from other factors in life are not good candidates for intermittent fasting.

Get your best eating plan

Take charge of your best health today. Talk to Proactive Wellness Centers to help work out the personalized eating plan for your optimal health.

The sneaky ways sugar can affect our mental health

There are certain times of the year when we all indulge in sugar (even taking candy from our kids, if we’re being honest). We may go on baking frenzies during the holidays or have a large slice of cake during birthday celebrations. Or perhaps we sneak in an extra nibble or two of the leftover pie after dinner. It’s okay, we all do it. While everything in moderation is best, we should also consider that an extra spoonful of sugar here and there can take a toll – not just on our waistline, but also on our minds.

Closeup image of a happy woman holding and enjoy eating cheese cRead on to learn more about how sugar can impact our minds:

1. Anxiety

For adults, anxiety disorders are the most common class of mental disorders, where nearly 25% of the population experiences something of the sort. Not all conditions can be attributed to sugar, but did you know that sugar can cause certain symptoms, which can contribute to a panic attack? These symptoms include difficulty thinking, fatigue and shaking.

Cutting back on sugar can help the body to cope with stress in a healthier way by boosting your energy (and keeping you free from harmful sugar highs and crashes).

2. Depression

Speaking of the ups and downs that come with sugar consumption, this roller coaster ride sugar has us on can contribute to an increased risk of depression. Some research explains that sugar suppresses a certain hormone that is low in individuals with depression.

3. Memory

High glucose levels have shown to diminish mental capacity over time. If you’re a little too keen on the cookies, there is a chance you’ll experience deficits in memory, learning and other cognitive functions.

It’s normal to experience sugar cravings every so often. Instead of reaching for refined sugars, your body and mind will thank you for turning to fresh fruit instead. Your body and mind will benefit. Now that is sweet.